Saturday, March 10, 2012


I bet your first thought went to the popular website after seeing that title...but no, not that kind of pinning. I'm talking stick pins, or trinket pins. 

I like to use them on my cards, and I like to have a variety of styles and colors ready to go when I need them.  Like most of my handmade embellishments, I don't like to stop and make them while I'm on a roll making a card. Instead, I make up many of my embellishments in advance (or in the case of flowers, I make up the pieces/layers and assemble them to match the project later). And, I like to be able to see them quickly and easily. So a small, traditional "tomato" pin cushion isn't the best storage solution for my needs - it's not quite a large enough  surface area to be able to see all the different colors/styles of the handmade pins. I need a stationary base that can stand on its own, and is larger than most pre-made cushions.

I have purchased a couple small and beautiful pin cushions from Etsy sellers, but they're hanging pin cushions, and to be honest, they're just so darn pretty I don't want to cover them with more pins!  I have them hanging in my craft room as decoration - like I said...they're just so darn pretty.

There are so many creative ways to make pin cushions, and I remember one day I spent several hours just admiring all the creative ways people had come up with to store their pins. I started searching locally for the one item that would strike my fancy to use for my base.  I cruised craft stores, local thrift stores, local dollar stores, and a couple passes through the local antique store for something unique and fun.  Still I haven't found the "perfect" item, but I needed to do something for storage soon. So I went back to one of the local craft stores for a "distressed" ceramic sugar bowl that I remembered would give me the right amount of free, visible space for the pins, and I was set to start.  The best part?  It was now 50% off...yay for my procrastination!

I pulled out some trinkets from an old (1990's???) bulky, gem-filled key chain that was sitting in my "stash box", some lace and Prima flowers, Hug Snug bows, a little bit of white acrylic paint, a scrap piece of upholstery fabric, polyester and cotton batting, glue gun and 3-4 glue sticks, and set to work.

You can find many links all over the net for detailed pin cushion how-to's. I didn't use one set of instructions in particular, just went by what felt like it would work at the moment.  So rather than bore you with step-by-step instructions that so many others before me have done so well, I'll just go over some tips that I found while making this one up.

The diameter of the cushion itself  is 4-1/2", and the bowl stands about 4"H...the cushion adds another 1-1/4" above the top of the bowl edges at its highest point.

So here are my hints, based on my experience with this bowl:

- Have LOTS of glue sticks ready to go. And if you can, use a mid-temp or high-temp glue gun for heavier fabrics and battings.  Mine is a mid-temp gun, but I still found I had to use a LOT of glue to make sure the cushion stayed secured to the bottom of the bowl.  I went through four 4"long glue sticks (1/2" diameter).

- I remembered seeing several sites mention that using cotton batting instead of polyester would give you a firmer cushion.  When I shopped locally, the cotton batting I found was in sheets or rolls, not loose in a bag as polyester batting usually comes.  I went with a 50/50 (half cotton/half poly) sheet (because the price was 1/2 of the pure cotton batting...LOL).  However, I found that when I scrunched pieces of the cotton batting up into a semi-round shape, it was TOO firm for the pins to go into. This could be because the pin bases I use are corsage pins, and perhaps they're not as finely sharpened as tailoring/sewing pins, but it was too firm for my use.

So, I tightly packed up a ball of the polyester batting to a size slightly smaller than I wanted to fit inside the bowl, then laid 2 layers of the cotton batting over the ball of polyester batting.  Then I put my fabric over that...and it works perfectly.  It's firm enough for the pins to stand upright, and the pins easily slide into the cushion.

- I found there was no difference whether I decorated the sides of the bowl first or made and glued the cushion first -perhaps only because of the type of bowl I used.  (Except, of course, I had to glue/secure the pin cushion into the bowl before gluing on the white and gold braid around the edge.)

- Because the bowl was heavy and stable enough to stand on its own with added weight on top, I didn't need to glue any glass marbles or weights in the bottom of the bowl before gluing in the cushion.  If I'd used a lighter weight bowl or even something as light as a vintage baby shoe, I would have glued in weights under the cushion.

Now it's time to get back to making cards...thank you for stopping by!


  1. Oh my goodness girl...that is so lovely. You did a great job and the pins on it are gorgeous.
    Where did you find the pins with the heart and the green leaf on the very top? Did you buy those pre- topped nnd then add the beautiful gems?

    I like to assemble elements ahead too. That way when my card or layout mojo is working, I have everything ready!

    1. Thanks so much for the compliment, Gloria!

      Yes...the green leaf, and red & white heart-topped pins are Maya Road pins that I added spacers and gems to...I just can't leave well enough alone, I guess! :)

    2. Thanks...I am going to have a look for those when I am out at the scrapbook store. You sure do lovely work!

  2. What a gorgeous idea Kathy ,and it turned out so very beautiful... It reminds me of something I gave away (after laying about 30 years in my cellar ) . In white albast from Russia , I once got it when I was little as a present from my aunts family .Should take another look in my cellar , but that darned pain does not allow me now to go there .I also wandered if the pins with the heart and leaf are pre-topped ?

    Hugs, Rosa


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